Mother/Stroller VS. Staircase

[Extra-Special Note from Jodi:  I just found out that Pistols + Popcorn is a 2009 Bloggie Finalist.  Let me just be honest.  I’d love to win. I’d really really think that was super awesome.  Another thing that’s cool?  Fat Cyclist is nominatated also (again). So please click here and vote for us in our respective categories.  Pistols + Popcorn: Best-Kept Secret Weblog, and Fat Cyclist: Best Sports Weblog.  I know, the sideways scroll.  Think of it as a new skill…]    

                                               

                                               (Lego Creation by Andrew Lipson)

Anson and I were walking down this long, steep stairwell into the subway not too long ago.  Directly in front of us was the all-too-familiar sight of a smallish woman carrying a baby in a largish stroller down this flight of stairs.  Anson of course did what he always does, and tapped her on the shoulder asking if he could get it for her?  The woman didn’t have time to answer before the man in front of her turned around and said that no, Anson in fact couldn’t help her with it.  I got my big eyes on with the raised eyebrows and a “what the….” coming out of my mouth when the woman explained, “I’m practicing”. 

 

Except that didn’t make sense so my “what the….” turned into, “eh….huh?”  Her awesomely gallant man-friend explained that “Well, I can’t always be with her, so she’s got to learn to get around the city without me”. 

 

So there she was, small woman carrying big stroller. “Practicing” by teetering with baby-bait intact down a perilously steep and long staircase being judged by her coach, while turning down offers of assistance.  This practice seriously gets the thumbs-down from me. 

 

I get what they were going for but here’s the deal, from one New York mother familiar with strollers on subways and the way those two things get tricky.  My secret?  Use your fellow New Yorkers.  There are millions of us all around you.  I have never never been at the base or top of a staircase with a stroller in New York without being approached by someone offering to help.  It’s the code.  We’re nasty to each other about getting the seat on the subway, but we will always give an assist in the mother/stroller vs. staircase scenario.  And guess what citizens?  It’s ok to accept that help.  Because your stroller is unwieldy, your baby is heavy, and put together it is not a good idea to try and schlep them up or down a flight of stairs.  It’s even dangerous for the rest of us.  Also: bad for your back.  So just say, “Yes”, and then say “Thank you” and we New York helpers will be on our way.

 

Besides, in turning the help down, you cause people like my husband serious psychological distress when you put yourselves and your babies at risk.  Anson was a mess watching this poor woman go on her own and we even observed another woman offering to help, who then turned away with the big eyes, the raised eyebrows and a “what the….” 

 

People, it’s good to accept help from one another.  The helper feels benevolent; the recipient of help doesn’t end up accidentally tumbling their child down a staircase.  That’s what we in the blogging world call a “Win-Win”.    

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71 responses to “Mother/Stroller VS. Staircase

  1. First let me say I love this site. You always have something entertaining going on. Second, this issue is something that I’ve always been nuts about. I cannot help but be scared when I see moms carrying their kids down staircases in strollers. One wrong step and everyone pays. I agree with you. Ask for help.

  2. stopping by to say congrats on your Weblog nom!http://2009.bloggies.com/

  3. I am one of those mothers with the strollers, I confess. I guess I feel bad when people offer to help, like my child has become their problem. Maybe I shouldn’t look at it that way, I’m not sure. I suppose the truth is that many of the people who offer to help are parents who have been there. Thanks for pointing that out.

  4. I voted for ya, and your brother! Go Nelsons!And – this very issue is why I carry my kid in a front carrier. Can’t be bothered with the stroller. It’s also probably why my back is always killing me!

  5. I checked out the blogs and your category and voted for you! Honestly, I like your name, but your content rocks!Maybe I can have your vote in the photography category?

  6. You’ve got my vote! Best of luck to you and FatCyclist!

  7. You’ve so defo got my vote just based on that one post. All the years I lived in London, nobody ever offered to help anyone with anything (I look small, female and often had a 50kg suitcause to haul around). I understand people getting pissed off with tourists blocking entrances to the tube, but come on, Brits, admit you do the same with your fat arses over in Florida. OK, I know they don’t have a tube but at least you do it in Disneyworld. Keep up the good work!

  8. Fortunately I’ve just started a new job so I’ve got an extra email address at my disposal for just such occasions as the bloggies.And I don’t get the whole don’t-help-me syndrome. Last night on the highway in the rain I saw a family on the side of the road unloading their luggage from a minivan. I doubled back to at least offer my headlights for them to work by only to discover that they were on holiday from overseas and driving a hired vehicle and they couldn’t even find the jack. I ended up more rained on, more dirty and more sweaty than all 8 of them combined. But I sleep well at night.

  9. What’s the secret to getting people to offer help? I very, very, very rarely have anyone offer to help me carry my stroller up or down the subway stairs. On those rare occasions when someone does offer help for the first flight…they almost always rush off to quickly to help with the second flight. I would really love help carrying my 30 pound toddler + 14 lb stroller + diaper bag, because I am also 5 months pregnant, and I am getting to the point where I am actually blacking out at the top of the staircase once I put the stroller down (not to mention it is a real strain on my back) …but I don’t feel comfortable asking someone for help if no one offers. Is there a secret?

  10. I agree…the mother/baby/stroller/stairwell situation is rather obvious… “Hello, I need a little help here.” Other situations with mothers & babies…not so much… and some of us have been waved off or forget that there are different responses we should take when things look that dangerous. Thanks for the reminder.

  11. I can’t believe that jerk-wad husband. I hope that when she’s on her own, she’ll accept help… cause you’re absolutely right. Take the help, people. 🙂

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